News Release December 23: Unified Command’s Weekly Meeting


SITKA, December 23, 2020

Operations Sections Chief, Craig Warren reported that 106 vaccinations were given at the Sitka Firehall over two clinics for first responders and SEARHC has vaccinated approximately 500. SEARHC will hold an additional vaccination POD next week and will soon be providing the public with information about who is eligible.

Public Health Nurse, Denise Ewing reviewed local Sitka case counts. The state will be receiving another shipment of vaccine from Pfizer for a Phase 2 vaccination POD. Juneau was impressed with the organization of Sitka’s vaccine POD for first responders and wants to replicate our process. Ewing supplied Juneau with local contact information along with pictures to help Juneau with the implementation of vaccine to their first responders.

Janelle Vanasse, Superintendent of Mt. Edgecumbe High School gave a big thank you to community organizations who have offered to help make the students who remain on campus over the holidays.

Dr. Bruhl, SEARHC Incident Commander reported they had enough vaccine to get through Phase 1A of the vaccine distribution plan. The Moderna vaccine arrived in Sitka early this week and will be used in the smaller communities due to a longer shelf life. The Pfizer vaccine will be used in Sitka because of access to deep freezers for storage and to maintain vaccine stability. Vaccine distribution will start in the next 10 days for elderly community members over the age of 75. The local vaccine allocation and distribution plan is currently under discussion. Phase 1B, 1C and 2 will be distributed throughout our community by SEARHC, Public Health and Harry Race and White’s Pharmacy.

Katelyn Ylitalo, Harry Race Pharmacist announced they had two successful vaccination clinics and thanked Public Health and Sitka Firehall for their assistance in making it happen. Harry Race and White’s Pharmacy are preparing for upcoming clinics in January.

Unified Command urges citizens to remain diligent and practice proper hygiene measures, such as washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with others and keeping your social circle small. In addition, stay home if you feel ill, wear a face covering when around others, and clean and disinfect objects and surfaces on a regular basis.

COVID-19 symptoms are similar to the flu – fever, aching, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, and sometimes decreased sense of taste and smell. If you are concerned you might have contracted the coronavirus contact the COVID hotline at 966.8799 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Outside of normal clinic hours, patients can contact the SEARHC 24/7 Nurse Advice Line at 1.800.613.0560 to be triaged by a registered nurse.

The Emergency Operations Center encourages residents to prepare for any local emergency by ensuring each family member has a 14- day emergency supply kit, including any necessary medications.

For information on the local pandemic response, visit or

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